Kate Stringer, Senior Writer and Digital Producer for The 74 interviewed Dr. Nell Duke for the article “Do Standards and Project-Based Learning Go Hand in Hand?” In the Q&A format article, Duke provides advice for schools interested in project-based learning and discusses her research that shows how project-based learning can lead to academic gains for young children in high-poverty schools. From the basic criteria of project-based learning to common implementation pitfalls, Duke describes the nuances of this model.
Duke says of the potential benefits, “Project-based learning has the potential to make students feel like they’re making a difference—empowering them as change agents in their community. Project-based learning has that potential because kids are accomplishing something beyond just school. The things they’re accomplishing interact with people outside the school walls and address a real need or a real opportunity or solve a real problem.”
Among other questions about Duke’s research findings, Stringer asked the question on many educators’ minds: Can standards and project-based learning live harmoniously? Duke responded: “We approach the design of projects with the standards in front of us from the beginning.” She added, “Today’s project-based learning has the best chance of meeting standards if those standards are part and parcel of the project design process.”